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THE PROTECTIVE SYSTEM. The number of the Quarterly Review just published contains a most able and most happily-timed article upon the Ministerial Resignations. The article was written under the impression that the Whig-Radicals had re- possessed themselves of power; but, like every piece of fair and manly reasoning from true principles, it con- ducts to conclusions the force or value of which cannot be affected by temporary circumstances. The reviewer, like ourselves, has confidence in the wisdom & patriotism of the present Premier; but he feels as we feel, and as we advise all Conservatives to feel, that such confidence is not inconsistent with a firm determination to judge for ourselves in matters so deeply affecting the fate of this oreat country, and the destiny of every one of us, as the proposed Radical change in our industrial and commercial policy, and to act upon that judgment when deliberately and conscientiously formed. The opInIOn of a Wise and cood man is, no doubt, a strong argument; but as we know that wise and good men have been mistaken, it must not be always accepted as a conclusive argument; let it avail in otherwise doubtful cases, but let it nerer be permitted to overcome the clear light of conviction. This is evidently the view taken by the Quarterly Reviewer; and it is the right view let us trust to the present Premier as an affectionate and obedient son, of mature age, trusts to a good father, revering his sense, placing unbounded confidence in his love, conforming to his will in all trifiin" or doubtful matters but when it comes to grave and solemn questions for decision, exercising hia own judgment, and acting upon it. We must, however, hasten to present to our readers some extracts from the article of the Quarterly-an article which we could wish to see circulated universally in the interval between this and the meeting of Parliament. It is possiblf, as one of the Conservative journals-the Standard-by-and-hye suggested, that Sir Robert Peel might propose to his cabinet a largeand extensive system of finance, of hich the remission of the duties on corn and on other ariicles should be items but for which the other porrions of the measure were designed by Sir Hobprt Peel to afford 10 all the great interests concPrneù an equivalent compensation and a more permanent secmity. < But even assuming that the hypothesis of the Standard is correct, we must confess, without resigning our general con- fidence in Sir Robert Ptel's sagacity and statesman-like views, we cannot believe that any compensation can be de- vised tbat would or ought to reconcile tbe agricultural mte- rests of England to the abandonment of all protection; and by agricultural interests we do not mean merely landlords, farmers, and labonrers-thongh they constitute 8 majority of the population-but the whole population, whose sure and regular supply is the real and only justifiable object of that protective system, which, instead of alternate gluts and fa- mines, and corresponding fluctuations of work and wages, is calculated, as tar as human laws can operate, to correct the vicissitudes of seasons, and to preserve a steady supply and moderate prices. "An unrestricted introduction of foreign corn would in a few seasons reduce this proud and prosperous empire, now the envy of the world, to a wretched dependence, not merely on the seasons, but on Ihe policy of Russia and Prussia America, or France. When a few yeais had unstocked our farms, ruined our farmers, thrown out of cultivation miliions of arable acres, and rendered the whole nation pensioners on foreign countries for the daily bread that heretofore they have asked only from God and their own resources—when we say, we shall be brought to that state, and that Prussia, or France, or America, or all three, should take umbrage at us (for humbled as we shall be, and sore afraid to offend our feeders, we shall learn the fatal lesson that amongst nations humiliation and dependence will not avert wrath or assuage vengeance), when, we say, that day shall arrive, how will they attack us ? Will they allow us to meet them at La Hogue or St. Vincent, Blenheim or Waterloo? Will rival navies give the fatal wound, Or hostile armies press us to the ground ?' Alas! no; they will have recourse to the cheap warfare of shutting their ports—to a short campaign of custom-house embargoes—reject our manufactures, refuse us their corn, and leduce us by starvation and anarchy to a state of national decrepitude, if not subjection. Let us not be told that we invent or exaggerate this danger. A few years since there was, about September, a prospect of a bad harvest in Eng- land France immediately laid an embargo on all her west- ern ports from Dunkirk to Bayonne. At the first symptom of our present deficiency the whole Continent has either closed their ports altogether, or imposed prohibitory export duties • there was as strong a party in France insisting upon the en- tire shutting her ports, as there is here for opening oUrs; and lhere have been serious riots along the channel coasts of France, on the suspicion of some attempts at an export of corn to England. "It may be said that self-interest and the incompressible energies of trade would prevent and defeat any attempt of foreign nations to starve us; and so perhaps it might be, if corn were an article of small bulk, easy transport, capable of being smuggled—or above all, if the demand were of a nature to enahle the dealers to bide their time. Under such circum- stances we have great faith in the irrepressible energy of trade—but the daily bread!—the hourly bread! Starving millions cannot await the slow oscillations by which, after a lapse of lime, the pent-up corn may flow in upon us—the corn campaign of either Continent against us will, in such a case not last six months, not, perhaps, six weeks-they will have but to suffer six weeks' privation of our exports, which are all of a nature to keep, and the use of which may be restricted or postponed with little inconvenience, while to us even that short suspension of food would be irretrievable ruin, The extent and facility of this danger is established by the very argument of the free traders themselves. To whatever exlent the free trade in corn may produce its possible good effect, to that extent at least it will flroduce also its ill effects —if little comes in, the benefit will he little —if the import- ation be great, the dependence on foreign nations must be great; and if. as there can he no doubt, the plains of the Vistula, the Dnieper, and the Mississippi, cOllld if tbere was a regu- lar demand, feed all England at very low prices, we cannot deny that we should soon be altogether fed by foreign wheat --that 1S, be doomed to foreign sllhjection whenever those governments should think proper to exert even a passive resistance against us Lord Rroughatii, in his great speech on the corn laws, in Vlav, 1820, asks—' If that principle were extended, what I would be the consequeaf-e ? The inevitable consequence would be that in the next season, 7,000.000 or 8,000,000 of acres would be thrown out of cultivation, and those dependent on them out of employment; the tenants would be expatri- ated, and the landlords in the workhouse.'—Hansard's De- bates, p. 687. Non mens hie sermo-these are no Tory apprphensions in- spired by the spirit of party—these are no factims suppositions got up for the panicular crisis—they are Whig opinions of the highest respectability, which have be«n years before the public, and never have been disclaimed by their authors, or disproved by their adversaries. But there is another and more immediate practical con- sideration tbat seems to uS of the greatest import<1nce. II is proposed to us 10 remove all duties on the import of corn —but can you oblige foreign powers to reduce their duties on the export of corn? Is it forgotten or not known that all European countries have a duty on the export of corn ? It is generally, we believe, it certainly is jn France. by a kind of slid'ng scale-and at the moment that we write ihere are I clamours against the French Government, as we have said, for not closing the ports altogether, although the export duties in the cuast district opposite to us are already so high as 15. for our quarter; so that if we were at this moment to open our ports, we should have to pay at once 15s. per quarter into the French treasury and if our demand were to raise the French price only three francs, the duty to France would immediately rise to 20s., with a further addition of two francs duty for every single franc of price. Here then would be anoiher source of ruin—the foreign countries would manage their export duty so as just to keep hold of the English mar- ket-and the English consumer, instead of eating his own wheat, or wheat that he had paid a duty iuto his own exche- quer, would be paying in every loaf he should eat an arbitrary contribution to the foreign treasury. At first the foreigner wouid be very moderate—a shilling or two a quarter; but even 2s. a quarter foreign duty, and 353. price here, would, on our annual con-umption of wheat alone, be near £60.000.000 a year to the foreign grower, and above 3,000,000 a year to the foreign exchequer, and of almost double these amounts on a11 kinds of graiu. "The only immediate danger contemplated in Lord John Russell's letter is the faitureof the potatoe crop in Ireland, for which, he says with admirable candour, that the late Ministers are no more to bs blamed than they are to he praised for the goodness, in all other respects, of the late harvest—' the plentiful corn harvest we have lately enjoyed.' This, if the matter were not of such awful gravity. would be amusingly characteri-tic of this light man—this lightest of ■itatesmen. He sacrifices what little his letter lias of argument to a smartness and in attempting a sneer at his rivals on the potatoe failure, he admits that the harvest is a bountiful one, an,1 needs no adventitious helps. Hilt his exaggeration, as we believe it to be, of the consequences of the potatoe disease on the general condition of the countrv, will fall still more heavily on him if he should be, as is announced. the Min- ister who is to steer us through this difficulty. The potatoe disease, if it were to be fatal to the whole crop, has no more relation to the corn-laws than Tenterden Steeple to Goodwin Sands, or—a better illustration—Lord John Itussell's letter to the object it affects to treat of. The stale of the Irish case is this. The Irish" peasantry SUbSllt almost univer ally on a patch of potatoe ground, whieh they fondly call a garden. What little wages they receive in money and the price of the pig hardly suffice for rent, rags, whiskey, and the priests—for the 0 Counell tribute and the repeal rent!—there is sometimes a little butter milk, an Irish luxury, given to the pigs in England, and now and then a herring to ♦ kitchen the potatoes but the potatoe out of his own garden'—unbought or bought only by the labour by which he pays a species of rent-may, for all practical pur- poses, be considered as the sole resource of the Irish peasant if that fails, and it is unfortunately a very uncertain crop, he starves—starves, even though oatmeal and wheat flour sho'uld be in the greatest abundance and at the most reasonable prices all around him. We have ample proof of this though the present potatoe disease is of an unprecedented nature" there have been frequent failures of that crop in Ireland, and each inevitably produces a famine- There was one in 1822 so severe that in addition to the very large relief affoided bv the government, the British public (the cruel and oppressive Saxons) raised a subscription of £:300,000 for the relief of the distress. There was no other scarcity in Ireland—no want of wheat flour or oatmeal,—indeed, so much the reverse that of that large sum no more than £40,000 was expended in sending food to Ireland, and that was chiefly for potatoes rice, and biscuit, dispatch; d on the first impulse, and before it was discovered that the scarcity was not of food, but of money to buy it; not an ounce of any article affected by the corn laws was sent; and after all, lhe alarm turned out to be greater than the danger, and the charity larger than the ne- cessity; for jMOO.OOO sufficed for relief, and the surplus ,flOO,O¡)() was distributed to several public institutions in Ire. land an abuse excused by the impossibility of returning to the innumerable subscribers the surplus fraction, but one which should make us a little careful not to Over-estimate similar distresses. In 1831 there was an alarm of the same kind, which the government met by an issue of £ 11,000 in Ui^purchase of provisions, and nearly £ 20,000 employed in public works, ill order to convey relief in the shape of wages, money being really the one thing needful and so again in lb35, and again in 1836, and again in 1837, and again in W39-and on all these occasions the Whig government, oeing as dependent on the Irish inembeis as Irish peasants are on potatoes, durst not refuse to listen to their exaggerated complaints of famine, and to make issues for its relief; but the result showed the nature of these Irish panics. On some ot these alarms considerable sums were voted for public works to give employment and wages to the poor—but no provisions of any kind were, we believe, seut into Ireland; and the sums actually supplied in provisions, bought in Ireland and re-i sued at lower prices, varied, as we are informed, on each ot these occasions from about f,200Q to 5000—so small was the extent of the real destitution. But some, who affect to approve of protection, find with the present form and rate of protection-ill short, with the sliding scale, which, they allege, throws the whole corn trade into confusion and uncer ainty. A fixed duty, they say. would be more likely to produce equality of price—Poland would then know what to sow—Arkansas know what to ship- we should have a steady market and regular supply. This argument we have heard used by grave persons of reputed common sense, but to us it seems the most notorious and superficial nonsense; and the only thing that can be s.id in its favour is, that it happens accidentally to be directly in the teeth of all the doctrines and statistical facts of the free trade philosophers. Corn is an article of which the natural produce fluctuates from year to year, and the intrinsic price from month to month: the problem is to bring these natnral and uncon- trollable vaiiations to something of a level price in the market -for the purpose of keeping wages and all the various re'a- tions of life connected with wages (in wages we include every kind of income from labour of the body or the mind), in such a state of approximate level or gradual variation as may not dislocate society—for the stomachs of labourers or artisans. and of their wives and children, will not obey the seasons and must be fed nearly to the same amount in the bad years as in the good—in the month of plenty as in the month of dearth and this can only be accomplished by inviting the aid of foreign corn at a rate of duty sliding along the scale of prices—sav, as by the present law-Is. when the price is 73; 20s when the price is 50s.; and so a shilling increase of duty for a shilling lowering of price. The prevailing mistake on this question is the confounding the duty and the price—the true view being that a fixed duty enhances the fluctuations of price, while a fluctuating duty tends to a fixitv of price. We are almost ashamed at arguing this self-evident proposition but the blindness of men in being led away by the words fixed duty' and sliding scale' seems so obstinate and absurd lhat we must add one further illustration. All along thc Thames the steam-boats, moving on a fluctuating medium, ply__to fixed wharfs ?—no—to floating whaifs, and why?-- because fixed wharfs would be inaccessible at different times of tide, whereas the floating wharfs accommodate themselves to the rise and fall, and the passengers embark and disembark -thanks to the floating level—with the same invariable con- venience. So it is with the corn trade—the s.li'-acting sliding scale levels the inequalities which naturai causes crea'e in the production and price of corij. If reason and experience, and power withal, were safer guards against the arts of faction and the blindness of popular excitement-if it were not for the furor' that the Spectator speaks of. which occasionally intoxicates mankind—we should have no kind of apprehension frotn this factious hubbub—this not merely irrational, but absolutely groundless agitation generated between Lord John Kussell and the League; nor, even as it is. have we much. Fac's will soon speak in a voice that even faction cannot drown if there be no scarcity, and prices continue moderate, it will be hard to persuade the world that they are starving, with wheat as cheap as it has been at the best periods of half a century if there he a scar- city, wheat will rise to 72s., and the duty will vanish. Nor will we, nor can we, believe that Sir ttobert Peel, whatever system he may have contemplated (and we have no doubt that it would have been at least a generous and honest one) if he finds-even if it he from the old-fashioned prejudices of his colleagues and of the country—that system impracticable, -we will not, we say, believe that Sir Robert Peel will give the slightest countenance to the only alternative that seems now presented to him, the unconditional repeal of hiso .vn act, which be carried but three years ago by such admirable argu- ments, by such irresistible facts, and with, as experience has shown, a success that has even outrun his sagacious expecta- tions. That great triumph we followed with our sincere ad- miration and our humble applause. We have since, on every occasion, congratulated ourselves and the country on that great work, the most important, perhaps, of all the signal services Sir Robert Peel had rendered to his country. He may see from the height of his own superior mind a pros- pect of rendering still greater; but that cannot make him less anxious to consolidate the work he has already done, and to protect and encourage, and support and guide the great party, -the vast majority of the rank, property, and intelligence and loyalty of the country—which he before led to victory, and which raised him to power. We 'bate no jot of heart or hope,' and feel confident that when the proper time for expla- nation comes w* shall find Sir Robert Peel siiil worthy and willing to be thtyfctd'er of the great Conservative party. But there areligher and more consolatory considerations than even these. The fate of the people of England is not in the hands of any Cabinet-it is in their own. No alteration in the corn laws can be attempted, we presume, with any prospect of success in the present House of Commons. A dissolution must probably take place if the Whig Leaguers should succeed in forming an administration-a,id a cissolu- tion would be in itself a great evil and a considerable increase of the difficulty, for it would throw back all the railway pro- jects, derange additionally the Money Market, and put off for two or three more months the employment of the Irish poor on those works which will afford the best relief to their tem- porary distress. But sooner or later we must arrive at a gene- ral election, and the great question must be solved by the people themselves. We know that we-the advocates of protection-are the majority, the large majority of all the most important consti- tueucies. We are satisfied that we have in our JIVII energies the means of a certain triumph. The question must be clearly stated, and not embarrassed by personal divisions or theore- tical distinctions. It is this — Is the whole system of protec- tion to British industry to be -tbandoned — not as to agriculture alone-but every branch of manufacture? Are we to have not only Polish wheat—but German linens and woollens & cutlery—Saxon hosiery and muslins- Belgian cottons and cloths, and fire-arms- Dutch spirits, Swiss watches, American reprints, French china, gloves, shoes, p ides an infinite variety of small articles which support a multitude of poor artisans, all of whom would be undersold by the foreigner *• We cannot believe, that if the real state of the case, the inevitable scope of the principle, be fully explained to the more intelligent of the manufacturing population, that even Manchester or Stockport would return advocates for a system which, even if confined to corn, has no object but to cffect low wages, and which in its result would reduce nine-tenths of the manufacturers of Rngland to downright unemployment and starvation. The short issue is PROTECTION OR NO PROTECTION protection to wages as well as rents-protection to cottons and woollens as well as wheat and oats—protection to the town as well as to the country—to the workshop as to the farm !—or RUIN TO ALL." A FREE-TRADE DIALOGUE BETWEEN TWO LIBERALS. A few days ago, a button manufacturer of this town waited upon a merchant, requiring some explanations respecting an extensive order he had received for buttons. Both being active supporters of the Liberal cause, and each believing the other to be a warm advocate of free trade, the following instructive dialogue took place after the explanations on the button order had been given :— Button-maker,-It is very gratifying, sir, to see the progress that free trade is making in the town. Merchant.—I don't think so I, for one, regret it. Button-maker. Why, I thought you were a friend to free trade Merchant.—Then I am not. Button-maker.-How is that? I thought we agreed on that subject. I have always advocated free trade, and I was of opinion you did the same. Merchant.—You and I have worked hard together in the Liberal cause: but I beg you to understand that I am not a free trader. Do you know what free trade, as it is called, would do for your trade 1 Button-maker. -Do 1 why, double my orders and in- crease my profits. Merchant.—You are much mistaken. Are you pre pared to reduce your buttons from 30 to 35 per cent.1 Button-maker. ^No, nor 2-L per cent. I have more than I can do at the present prices. Merchant.—Are you aware that the buttons you manu- facture are protected by a heavy duty Button-maker.—No. Merchant.-Then they are and if that protective duty were to be taken off I should not buy a button from you, but should send all my orders for buttons to Germany. Button-maker. -Are you serious in what you say f Merchant.—I am most decidedly. Button-maker.—Then, if we had free trade I should have to shut up my manufactory. Merchant.—You would most assuredly. Birmingham cannot compete with Germany in buttons and many other articles either in price or quality. Button-maker.—You stagger me. Merchant. -Can you obtain the material of which your buttons are made much lower ? Button-maker.—No; I buy in the cheapest market. Merchant. Can you reduce your workmen's wages ? Button-maker.—Oh, no; they say they can hardly live now, with full work. Merchant.—Then you see free trade will not do for you or your workpeople. It will not serve either of you, but will both ruin you and them. Button-maker 1 can assure you, Mr. you have changed my opinion on free trade. This simple but important dialogue was furnished to us by the button-maker, who is now as strenuously op- posed to the wild and destructive doctrine of free trade as he was previously in favour of it. Free trade might benefit Manchester, but it would ruin Birmingham," said the merchant to the buttonmaker.-BirminghamAdvertiser

A L M A N A C K "F O R 1846.



BANKRUPTS.—(From the London…

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